High street retailer Wilko is investing £3m in an autonomous delivery company that is developing driverless vehicles.
The investment into StreetDrone will give the retailer a significant interest in the company. It is part of a wider multi-million-pound funding drive that enable StreetDrone to accelerate the development of its autonomous delivery vehicle and systems.
StreetDrone is aiming to deploy driverless delivery vehicles on the UK’s roads by the end of 2023 and is working with UK-based vehicle safety agencies on defining the standards needed for the technologies to be allowed on public roads. Wilko’s investment will speed up the development of StreetDrone’s Pix-E delivery vehicle and autonomous delivery system.
As part of the investment, Jonathan Griffin, director of WilkinsonFuture, the venture capital arm of Wilko-owner AHWL, will sit on the StreetDrone’s board.
Wilko said the investment was a core element of its long-term strategy to strengthen its omnichannel model, in line with changes in customer behaviour, not least the boom in online shopping triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Wilko CEO Jerome Saint-Marc, autonomous vehicles are the future of automated logistics, and StreetDrone is one of the key players in this “game-changing” technology.
“Ultimately, StreetDrone has the potential to reduce costs for customers when deployed in the retail sector,” he said. “We look forward to supporting them on this journey.”
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